Albany, NY - April 8, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced “43North” is attracting thousands of applicants from around the globe. Entrepreneurs, startups and teams from across the globe have been racing to turn their business ideas into reality in Buffalo, New York for the world’s largest business idea competition with $5 million in cash prizes, including a top award of $1 million. Winners will receive free incubator space for a year, guidance from mentors related to their field and access to other exciting incentive programs.
“The 43North business competition is off to a great start, attracting promising start-up ventures and entrepreneurs from around the world to Western New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “Innovators from as far away as China and South Africa have applied to take part in this cutting-edge competition and choose Buffalo as the place to bring their ideas into the marketplace. This program will help our state's efforts to rejuvenate the economy of Western New York and position Buffalo and all of Upstate as the place to be for new startups to thrive and grow."
"With Governor Cuomo's vision and leadership we are attracting innovation to Western New York and not just spurring industry and job growth, but building a culture entrepreneurs can really thrive in," Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy said. "Today's announcement is another win for Buffalo, with 43North garnering interest from applicants all over the world, eager to be a part of Buffalo's growth and success. The nation’s biggest competition of its kind, situated in the heart of Buffalo, is a demonstration of the Governor's commitment to the Buffalo Billion promise, and I look forward to the creative and forward thinking ideas this will bring to the region."
43North is designed to systematically generate new business ventures in Western New York, while providing mentoring and other aid for aspiring entrepreneurs; supporting early-stage firm growth; and attracting additional venture funding.
43North Steering Committee Chairman Jordan Levy said, “Buffalo is becoming one of America’s newest hotbeds for innovation and entrepreneurship, that’s the buzz that is being created by 43North. I have seen the overwhelming response and am excited to see the businesses that will ultimately be created by the winners. There is no doubt this contest will drive new economic opportunities throughout Buffalo and Western New York. “
Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-chair and Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group Howard Zemsky said, “It looks like we’re going to leave our initial optimistic projections in the dust. In the new Buffalo, everything’s possible, this is great news. We knew 43North would be big, but its early success attracting the best and brightest business minds tells us it definitely has the potential to make Buffalo a more competitive city in the world of start-ups. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, we are using the Buffalo Billion to attract entrepreneurial champions who are ready and willing to use their ideas to invigorate the existing business community, which will attract an even greater number of startups to the Western New York region in the future.”
43North Executive Director Andrew Pulkrabek said, “To spread the word about 43North, our team has been traveling to more than 20 North American cities, as well as India and Israel. I have had the pleasure of seeing the excitement this competition is generating first hand. If these business innovators who are chomping at the bit to apply didn’t know about Buffalo before, they sure do now. Upstate New York is becoming a land of opportunity for startups. The wide variety of applicants from around the world tells us 43North is about to spark a firestorm of ideas, which will help heat up the economy of Western New York.”
New York Power Authority Chairman John R. Koelmel said, “Governor Cuomo is creating the conditions necessary to unleash Western New York’s great economic potential, as demonstrated by his ‘Buffalo Billion’ initiative and the 43North global business idea competition. The Power Authority is proud to be supporting these efforts to make the 43North business idea competition a reality, including the $5.4 million in funding that we’re providing from proceeds obtained from the sale of unutilized Niagara hydropower.”
The competition is broken down into three rounds, with each round being independently judged:
- Round 1 (February 5 – May 31): Applications from prospective businesses will be accepted via the competition’s website, 43North.org. Round 1 is for applicants to provide a vision for their venture, including their business concept, target customers, industry overview, competitive landscape and revenue potential. This submission is not intended to be as comprehensive as a detailed business plan, but should provide the judges with a summary of the major elements of the venture.
- Round 2 (September 15 – September 20): The semifinalists will present further detail on their plan and a 10-minute online presentation to 43North’s judging panel, which will be followed by 10 minutes of questions. The plans put forward in Round 2 will include the venture’s business concept, value proposition, competitive analysis, communication and distribution channels, client relationships, key stakeholders, resources and activities, cost structure, revenue streams and financial considerations.
- Round 3 (October 27 – October 31): The final stage of the competition is for finalist teams to pitch their business in person to a panel of judges in Buffalo. Each team will have 10 minutes to sell their business idea, followed by 10 minutes of questions. Teams will be assessed on overall organization of the presentation; the team’s ability to ‘sell’ the idea and need for the company; the team’s ability to defend the plan and be responsive to questions; and the quality of the overall plan. The competition concludes with the selection of winners and celebrations.
43North is open to applicants ages 18 and older in any industry, with the exception of retail and hospitality. Applicants can enter the competition by May 31, 2014 at http://www.43north.org.
43North is part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, which is driving new economic opportunities throughout Buffalo and Western New York. The competition operates through the support of New York Power Authority and Launch NY.